Category Archives: Personal Experience

Blogging break…Retire Now

I will be taking a vacation from work and blogging for the next 3 weeks. Watch for this blog to resume full operations near the end of August. I am reprinting an article I wrote for Slacker Manager on Retire Now.

I believe “retirement” does not mean full disengagement, just as I do not believe that work means full engagement. I will be weaving some “retirement” into my summer…

Retire now: Weave retirement into your work even if you are in your 20s

In about 10 years the number of young people getting into the workplace will no longer be enough to replace retirees.

Tim Cork, a career coach, stated in The Globe and Mail, “if you are fifty-something and you can expect to live into your 80s, you should be thinking of this as half-time and not the beginning of the end.”

 He encourages older workers to think about a new career with these tips:

  1. focus on your strengths
  2. find your passion
  3. network
  4. create your brand
  5. do your homework
  6. take action
  7. don’t be discouraged
  8. have a support system

I don’t know about you but this would be the same advice I have heard for recent graduates from high school or university.

If you are younger you may be expected to work longer in your life.

Don’t wait for retirement, retire now.

Retire now…

Retire now  does not mean you stop working. It means you work at what interests you and what you care about.

Retire now  means that you take vacations, breaks, and time with your family.

Retire now  means you stop always trying to climb up the career ladder and enjoy being on the rung.

Retire now  means you “stop trying harder and try softer.”

Retire now  means you don’t always have to be connected or respond to each email within 22 seconds.

Retire now  means that you make contributions to society and you fully develop yourself.

Retire now  means you can take full satisfaction in what you have done in your life, even at 22 years of age!

Retire now  means you learn from the past, look forward to the future, but live in the ever changing current now.

Retire now  means that retirement is a part of working not apart from working.

Don’t wait for some magic age such as 50, 60 or 65. Don’t wait for some “retirement package.” Retire now.

Click, Slacker Manager, if you would like to read all 5 posts I wrote for Slacker Manager in the last week of July.

If you would like to read all 5 posts in David Zinger was lucky enough at 21 years of age, 32 years ago, to have listened carefully to Don, an 80 year-old-fried who said retirement was wasted on the elderly and that people 21 should be retired. David has been retired ever since while still actively working. Retirement is a way of living and working that can successfully reside within an active and full career. 

Employee Engagement: Making others care (MMP#15)

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Employee Engagement: Monday Morning Percolator #15 (Early release)

by David Zinger

If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will. ~ Mother Teresa

Don’t let your employee engagement messages go to the dogs or lull people to sleep.

How do we provide emotional rescue to ensure that people care about an idea? Do we foster empathy in the way we present our ideas? Can we velcro our idea with an idea that people already care about? Can we show others the benefit of our idea not just for who they are but who they could become?

If we take people only as they are, then we make them worse; if we treat them as if they were what they should be, then we bring them to where they can be brought. ~ Johann Wolfgang  Van Goethe

Chapter 5 of Made to Stick outlines the emotional component of stickiness. The emotional goal is to make people care because feelings inspire us to act.

Here are are a few points to consider when crafting messages to foster higher levels of engagement:

  • Did I communicate empathy for people who may feel disengaged?
  • Do I know what people really care about and can I twine this with employee engagement?
  • Do employees see the benefit of engagement for themselves now and in the future?

If we take the last point for example. It appears to me that people who are fully engaged at work are also able to fully engage in retirement while people who are disengaged at work and dream of being engaged in life when they retire have a hard time engaging in retirement. There is an old statement that goes retirement is being tired twice: first tired of working, then tired of not working.

Here is a summary from chapter 5 of Made to Stick:

How can we make people care about our ideas? We get them to take off their Analytical hats. We create empathy for specific individuals. We show how our ideas are associated with things that people already care about. We appeal to their self-interest, but we also appeal to their identities — not only to the people they are right now but also to the people they would like to be.

Get Perking:

  1. Work at leveraging the motion inherent in the emotions of engagement.
  2. Care enough to really know who you work with, to know what they care about, and to mesh your caring with the encouragement, empowerment, and tools to be fully engaged yourself at work and to foster high levels of employee engagement.

Winner for Unexpectedness is worth $1.75: Dan Whitmarsh was the winner of the grand sum of $1.75 for triggering the unexpected thought of the Three Musketeers and employee engagement. Employee engagement is one for all and all for one. To demonstrate his sense of one for all, Dan asked my to donate his winnings to the Tim Horton’s send a kid to camp campaign. 

Picture Credit: Jackson Tries to Contain His Excitement By http://flickr.com/photos/itsgreg/106561656/

Employee Engagement: 30 Inches Away

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Humantech Inc. has introduced the “30-inch view of business.” As opposed to leaders taking the 30,000-foot view of business Humantech suggests leaders get close to their people and environment.

“The lesson is that people matter and they’re everywhere,” Keith R. Bossey from Humantech said. “We believe that, ‘within 30 inches of your employees sits all of the profit your organization will ever capture.’ Therefore, you need to remove or minimize the friction between people and their work environment. The 30-inch view of people and performance can help companies uncover new found sources of sustainable financial gain.”

Edward Hall, who studied proxemics – the distance between people – stated that less than 30 inches between people fostered more personal interactions and relationships. In today’s workplace we must lessen the space between people and maintain our connections rather than relying on contacting people through text messages and cell phones.

Engagement does not occur by distant decree but by close, personal, and meaningful connections.

Get Engaged:

  1. Do you make an effort to get close to the people at work? Make closeness part of your high quality interactions that foster energy and engagement at work.
  2. Do people feel touched by your closeness?
  3. Read this short article on Wikipedia about proxemics to get a close view on the distance between people.

Employee Engagement: Monday Morning Percolator #3

This Monday’s percolator is a slow percolator. Slow Leadership is a wonderful blog with the tag-line:  Real leadership isn’t an instant activity any more than a healthy diet is a hamburger, fries, and a large soda.

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It is good to see someone take a strong focus on slowing down and reflection. The articles are thoughtful, well-written, and laced with leadership insights. This blog is invaluable for leaders and strongly encourages leaders to slow down and think, and maybe even think some more.

Carmine Coyote looks at a variety of key points around leadership. I encourage you to become a regular reader of the blog.

The post highlighted for today is: Are we having fun yet? The author looks at nine principles of having fun based on the Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun. Here is a list of the principles, scan the list then go read the post:

  1. Stop hiding who you really are.
  2. Start being intensely selfish.
  3. Stop following the rules.
  4. Start scaring yourself.
  5. Stop talking at all so damn seriously.
  6. Start getting rid of the crap.
  7. Stop being busy.
  8. Start something.
  9. Don’t worry what others will think of you.

I would call the principles of fun outlined on this post “deep fun.” They are not the superficial activities of passing around silly e-mails or having a crazy dress day at work, rather they are approaches that will add more meaningful fun to your day. After all, tortoises only make progress when they stick their necks out. Here is the conclusion to the post.

When do people perform best at any task, from sport to nuclear physics? When they’re relaxed, intent on what they’re doing and more of less oblivious of everything else. When they’re having fun. So loosen up and enjoy your life.

If you want to brew up some powerful engagement recognize what you need to stop, act on what you need to start, and don’t worry — be engaged!

Photo by Jenny Rollo

If it is to be it is up to me

Engagement can be a test of tenacity and gumption. I experienced numerous difficulties with this site. I was intent of fixing the errors but there were a few times I thought about just hitting the delete button and letting the project go.

This project’s focus on engagement is far too important for that but emotions such as frustation and anger can often cloud our efforts.

I would like to close with a very empowering 2 letter – 10 word quotation that keeps me engaged when I’d like to quit. I don’t know the source of this statement but if you do please leave a comment. Thank you.

If it is to be it is up to me.

Get engaged.

  • What actions can you take to stay engaged when you feel frustrated?